Liam – October 2, 2017
I’ve written about the environmentally conscious ingenuity of the Danes before—their world leadership position when it comes to bicycling, their recycling of pee-pee to make tasty brew—and it has yet to grow old. That’s a good thing, too, because that ingenuity keeps happening.
Early this past summer, Denmark’s most famous and beloved export, LEGO, drew the attention and recognition from the good folks at Guinness World Records again. With hundreds of records earned over the years, the latest came by building the world’s largest LEGO wind turbine. It took 600 hours to construct and used 146,251 bricks. It was assembled and unveiled in June in Liverpool, UK, with a crowd of school children looking on in wonder—unable to touch because this LEGO structure is no toy—and peaked at a height of just over 25 feet. Actual wind turbines stand at a towering 655 feet.
The unveiling in Liverpool was significant because of the LEGO Group’s 25 percent investment in the Burbo Bank Extension wind farm located off the coast of the English city, which opened in May. That farm will provide clean power to some 230,000 British homes. Over the last five years, LEGO has supported the development of more than 160 megawatts of renewable energy, according to the company’s website. It set a goal to balance 100 percent of its energy use with renewable energy, and it is now doing just that. More, really.
In 2016, the company used more than 360 gigawatt hours of energy to power its stores and offices throughout the world, as well as its global factories, which churned out over 75 billion bricks. (1 megawatt = .003 gigawatts.)
But this wasn’t just a self-congratulatory stunt. The LEGO Group is obviously invested in children, considering that it makes toys, despite how many of my friends in their 30s and 40s spend thousands of dollars each year on LEGO sets for themselves. The company is also part of RE100, an organization that brings together influential companies committed to powering the world with 100 percent renewable energy. The record-setting not-a-toy LEGO wind turbine was used to instill in children the importance of clean and renewable energy and encourage them to think about how they can impact the environment in a positive way.
“We see children as our role models, and as we take action in reducing our environmental impact as a company, we will also continue to work to inspire children around the world by engaging them in environmental and social issues,” said LEGO Group CEO Bali Padda.
To help push the excitement of clean energy to the kids, LEGO Batman was on hand to pose for photos and mingle with budding environmentalists. As per usual, LEGO Bruce Wayne was nowhere to be found.
Anyone who attended The Danish Home’s Tivoli Gardens event this past June, around the time LEGO’s wind turbine was unveiled, would have seen for themselves how much children love LEGOs, as many of them were congregated around the large LEGO tent included in the day’s festivities. And, as I said, adults enjoy them, too. I suspect that very few of the parents at the LEGO tent minded “helping” their kids with their projects!
The inspiring wind turbine will live permanently at the LEGOLAND Windsor Resort in the United Kingdom. It’s safe to assume that it will remain off limits to touching, but LEGO has already found a way to literally get the excitement of renewable energy into kids’ hands. And it’s for sale now.